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Economic Bulletin

Volume 889: debated on Wednesday 26 March 1975

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2.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when the next issue of the Scottish Economic Bulletinwill be published; and if it will contain an estimate of employment prospects in Scotland over the coming 12 months.

The spring edition has just been published and the next is due in July. It is not our practice to give estimates of employment prospects, but each issue contains an article reviewing general progress in the Scottish economy.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the large number of factory closures in Paisley and get his astrologers on to the job of trying to find out how we can get these people other employment?

I should prefer to rely on a much more reasonable policy than that of astrology. I hope that when we come to the publication and then the enactment of the measure dealing with the Scottish Development Agency we shall get all the help that we usually do get from my hon. Friend.

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House whether he believes that the employment prospects in Scotland will improve or decline if the United Kingdom leaves the EEC?

One cannot isolate the economy of Scotland from that of the United Kingdom. One of the things about which I am pleased is that although there is evidence of rising unemployment the Scottish economy seems to be much more resilient because of the special efforts that have been made and the opportunities that we now have in Scotland. We cannot isolate Britain from the rest of the world, and we cannot isolate the Scottish economy from the United Kingdom economy.

I welcome the right hon. Gentleman's statement about the Scottish Development Agency. May I ask what additional resources will he placed at the disposal of the Assembly, bearing in mind the statement made in Newcastle by the Leader of the House to the effect that few additional resources would be going either to the Scottish Assembly or to the Scottish Development Agency?

It seems that certain individuals are quite speechless unless they read theDaily ExpressI suggest that it would be far better to wait a little while. A few days after we return from the Easter Recess the Scottish Development Agency Bill will be published. It will contain a Financial Memorandum and a list of powers, and the hon. Gentleman will then be able to make up his mind without getting guidance from the enlightened organ to which I have referred.